Italian immigration to France, in French artist Sophie Zenon’s exhibition in Timisoara

Artist Sophie Zenon’s AD VITAM photography exhibition offers the audience a dialogue between two recent series signed by the artist: The Mummies of Palermo, 2008 (from the series “In Case We Die”) and Landscape-Man (Alexandre), 2015 (from the “Arborescence” series). The AD VITAM Exhibition will open at the Jecza Gallery in Timisoara on Friday, April 15, and will remain open until May 15. The series of mummies from the catacombs of Palermo, Italy, are emblematic for the artist’s undertaking to tackle the loss of loved ones, our relation with the body after death or with ancestors. The artist approached the mummies’ image with infinite delicacy, the mummies giving off the impression that they are moving waveringly, as if in a dance between disappearance and presence, transgressing delicately the border between life and death. In her new series – “Arborescence” –, Sophie Zenon continues her researches on disappearance and focuses on her own inner ghosts. “Arborescence” is a revisit of her family history – intimately linked to the history of Italian immigration to France during the interwar period – a poetic evocation of exile, identity, loss of birthplace.

In this first part, dedicated to her father, the body becomes a landscape and the landscape a body. It becomes a place of passage, being no longer an entity but a universe that interacts with space and territory.

The red thread that links the Mummies of Palermo with the Landscape-Man represents both memory and the way in which its loss can be overcome. Photos, family archive elements inserted in the landscape, videos, are all exploited in turn. The installation, recreated in situ, acts on one hand as an element through which memories are revived and as an artefact that objectifies the artist.


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